Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis (R) is slapping down a claim made by “60 Minutes” accusing him of making a deal with the grocery store chain Publix to distribute COVID-19 vaccines to wealthier communities.
Reporter Sharyn Alfonsi suggested during a press conference, “Publix, as you know, donated $100,000 to your campaign, and then you rewarded them with the exclusive rights to distribute the vaccination in Palm Beach.”
DeSantis shot back, “So first of all what you’re saying is wrong. That’s a fake narrative.”
He continued, “I met with the county mayor. I met with the administrator. I met with all the folks in Palm Beach County and I said, ‘Here’s some of the options. We can do more drive-thru sites. We can give more to hospitals. We can do the Publix.’ And they said, ‘We think that would be the easiest thing for our residents.'”
Watch the exchange below:
"What you're saying is wrong," Gov DeSantis tells Sharyn Alfonsi in response to a question about whether the Publix grocery store chain gained influence through a campaign donation on his behalf. "It's wrong. It's a fake narrative," he says. https://t.co/gyrW9hYPTg pic.twitter.com/5rBq7v5VOA
— 60 Minutes (@60Minutes) April 4, 2021
Alfonsi argued the criticism is it is “pay to play.”
DeSantis replied, “It’s wrong, it’s a fake narrative. I just disabused you of the narrative and you don’t care about the facts because obviously I laid it out for you in a way that is irrefutable. So clearly it’s not.”
The CBS reporter continued to press DeSantis before he cut her off, “No, no, no, you’re wrong, you’re wrong, you’re wrong.”
A spokesperson for Publix told CBS in a statement there is no connection between campaign contributions and the
“willingness to join other pharmacies in support of the state’s vaccine distribution efforts.”
They added, “We are proud of our pharmacy associates for administering more than 1.5 million doses of vaccine to date and for joining other retailers in Alabama, Florida, Georgia, South Carolina, Tennessee and Virginia to do our part to help our communities emerge from the pandemic.”
The heated back and forth comes just days after DeSantis signed an executive order banning vaccine passports.
During a Monday press conference, DeSantis explained, “It’s completely unacceptable for either the government or the private sector to impose upon you the requirement that you show proof of vaccine to just simply be able to participate in normal society.”
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